Sunday, April 23, 2017

Humans of Downey - Julio and Stella #1


This is Julio and Stella. They immigrated from Argentina in 1978 and they are a great example of living a life of hard work, honor, and uprightness. Pam, Joan, and I had the pleasure of being welcomed into their home recently. Today and tomorrow, I will share some of their stories. After that, Pam and Joan will share some pictures and thoughts about their beautiful home.

"When we first came to America, we rented a house in Inglewood. After we had been there for 10 months, we started to look to buy a house. I had a friend, he was my boss and he encouraged me to buy a house, but I said I didn't have the money. He said he would help me with the money with a $3,000 down payment and I just needed to pay him back in two years. He wanted me to buy a house around $30,000. Stella and I looked around and we found a house in South Gate for $52,000. I told my friend about the house we were going to buy and he got scared. He said this is more than what I said to look for. You will have problems making the payments. I said that I would make the payments as I promised. He said, the money I gave you I'll need in one year, not two. I said no problem, I'll pay you back in one year. Actually, we paid him back in 6 months.

"In Argentina I went to engineering school. This is where I learned to work in wrought iron and wood. When I came to America, I started working in a machine shop. Then, after two years, I started making wrought iron security doors and security windows. But we didn't have a shop to work so we did it in my garage in South Gate. We added customers little by little so we bought our first shop near Florence and Alameda. As we grew our business, we sold that shop and bought a larger one. But then I started doing more finish home construction. We do room additions, roofs, plumbing, electrical, concrete—anything to do with construction, we do it.

"I run my business the old way. The people tell me what they want done, I tell them what I will do and how much it will cost. They say how do you want the money and I say I will go first doing and you will come behind with the money. We shake hands and I start. As we have been talking, I have been taking pictures in my head. I have pictures of what the inside will look like and what the finished product will look like. Once I had a customer that wanted some work done on his home. I listened to him, took my 'pictures', went back to the shop, calculated a price, and then sent him the bottom line. He liked the price but he wanted something in writing. I sent him a piece of paper what I was going to do and the price. He said he wanted more detail and he was going to fax me what he meant. He faxed me 40 pages of details. I called him and said everything that was on his 40 pages was on my one page. He agreed and said go ahead with the plans."

~ Julio

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